Time to Change
Have you ever watched a monarch butterfly emerge from its chrysalis? Experienced spellbinding moments as it unfolds from the encasing skin to prepare for its first flight? The transformation from a leaf-eating caterpillar into a magnificent and beautifully decorated butterfly is a truly incredible wonder of God’s creation. Yet magnificent as they are, the changes we see take place in the caterpillar are not as spectacular as those God has planned for you. Life of a Monarch Butterfly egg4.JPG imageshow101.JPG imageshow102.JPG butterfly11.JPG butterfly10.JPG bingo3.JPG bingom.JPG bingo4.JPG
Life of a Monarch Butterfly
Scripture tells us that there is a physical body and a spiritual body. The physical can later be raised as spiritual - in the image of God (I Corinthians 15:44-49). This is the promise of eternal life. We have an amazing future.
God shares His Power
Mankind not only have the potential to inherit the Kingdom of God (Daniel 7:13-14, Matthew 25:34) but all things – the universe (Revelation 21:7). Think about that. God, the creator of the entire universe wants to share all things with us. This puts the future of mankind beyond anything, any of us have probably ever dreamed of. It is God’s power that created and sustains the universe (John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2,3,10). God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, are willing to share with us their power and majesty over the entire, endless universe as a father shares his possessions with his children (Romans 8:16-18).
But why would God offer to share with us the entire Universe when we have made such an abominable mess of life on this planet? Look at our track record. Throughout our history countless millions have been slaughtered and maimed by wars of our own making. Human nature with its pride, vanity, envy and greed has caused untold suffering and misery (James 4:1-3). We have plundered the resources of this Earth with complete disregard to the consequences, polluted the waterways and atmosphere, killed off innumerable plant and animal species and have now come to the point where we can completely eradicate all life from the planet - and will do so unless God Himself intervenes. Imagine the scale of destruction we would cause if let loose over the whole universe. Surely God is not going to let this happen?
The Bible tells us that we cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, in our present state (I Corinthians 15:50). Before we can inherit all things we need to make radical changes in way we think and act (I Corinthians 6:9-11). The Apostle Paul said “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). The word ‘transform’ means to change form. From the original Greek word metamorphoomai, we get the word metamorphosis, a biological term used to describe the process of change from one form to another. The metamorphosis of the caterpillar to a butterfly is a good example. It is a complete and total change from one form of creature to another. Paul is talking about a complete and total transformation in our thinking and conduct. Selfish human nature needs to be replaced with attitudes and motives that will bring peaceful and harmonious relationships (Galatians 5:19-26). Before we inherit all things God has to be certain that our attitudes and motivations are right so we don’t wreak havoc and cause untold eternal misery throughout the whole creation.
That is why God calls us to repentance. It is through repentance, baptism and the receiving of God’s Spirit that we begin to make changes (Acts 2:38). As God’s Spirit leads to spiritual understanding (John 14:16-17 , 26, and I Corinthians 2:12-16) we gain a deeper insight of God’s way of life, His character, His plan and His spiritual law. True repentance means a total change of mind from a self-centred way of greed, envy and general lack of concern for our fellow beings, to a God-centred way of life, a way of love and concern for others (Romans 13:10).
The Pain of Change
Repentance often involves a painful process of coming to see ourselves for what we really are. It’s a truly humbling experience because what we see of ourselves is not pleasant. To admit we are wrong is not easy. But we must see ourselves as we are before we can turn around and start a new way of life.
Repentance is not just being sorry for what we are and have done (II Corinthians 7:9-10). It isn’t just a casual or spur of the moment change of mind or flash of remorse. It takes a genuine and sincere desire from the very core of our being to permanently change the direction of our lives, to rid ourselves of pride and vanity and to take on the character of God. It is a total change or transformation of the mind from one way of thinking to another - a renewing of the mind.
The attitude of repentance must continue through out our lives. Because we are human, we do slip up and make mistakes, which can be repented of and forgiven through Jesus Christ
New Life in Christ
Repentance however, is not something we do of our own volition. We are led to repentance by God’s Spirit, which opens our minds to what we are (Romans 2:4), so we can see the need to change.
Once we see the need for it we must - decide to change, or continue on as we are. The choice is ours. At our baptism God implants His Spirit, which gives us access to spiritual knowledge (II Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13-14). An “earnest” of our inheritance – as Paul terms it - is like a down payment of what we expect to have in the fullness of time.
As we apply the principles revealed to us, we grow in understanding. We walk God’s way with a newness of life (Colossians 3:12-14, Ephesians 4:31-32, Romans 6:4). We learn to live by the every word of God (Matthew 4:4) - overcoming and growing, until we come to the “measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). God is teaching us a better way of life, one that brings happiness, a way that will allow entry to His Kingdom.
God wants us to focus on the spiritual morals and values that Christ taught. To overcome sin, to resist temptation, to develop the same loving merciful character that God has - the sort of mind-set exemplified by Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5).
Strength to Win
Not only does God open our minds to spiritual matters and teach us He also provides all the help we need to overcome our weaknesses and to accomplish changes of mind-set and attitude (Ephesians 4:23). All this happens over time - a whole lifetime! But don’t despair. God has called us to success. That success is not dependant on physical prowess or mental stamina, it is a matter of our willingness to yield to God and to rely totally on Him. He will do everything to help us, providing we let Him (Philippians 1:6, Psalm 34:17-19, 22).
It is important we understand what our focus should be so we don’t get side tracked by the attractions of this world. Some of the morals and values of society may seem right (Proverbs 6:25), and we may be deceived into thinking they are right (Revelation 12:9, James 4:4), but God wants us to learn to live by His standards and morals. His way is the only way we can live together in peace and harmony (I Thessalonians 3:12-13, and 4:9) sharing His tremendous power for all eternity.
Our calling is not something to be taken lightly. Everyone is eventually accountable for what they do (II Corinthians 5:10, Daniel 7:9-10). Judgement is especially on those called now (I Peter 4:17) to be part of His household, part of His family (Ephesians 2:18-22).
A Divine Plan
Clearly God has a plan and a purpose for mankind. He is preparing us for something far greater than what we can see now. Something that will involve the whole universe.
In Hebrews 2:6-8, Paul says “What is man that you art mindful of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honour, and set him over the work of your hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” What an amazing future. What a new meaning this gives to our lives.
The ultimate transformation of course is accomplished through a resurrection when we will be transformed from physical form to spirit (Philippians 3:20-21, and I Corinthians 15:52). As spirit beings we will participate in what God will be doing for the rest of eternity (John 14:3), sharing that power and authority with Him (Revelation 3:21).
Jesus Christ in Revelation 21 and 22, described God’s Kingdom. There will be no sorrow, no pain, no death and no evil (Revelation 21:4, 8 and 27). This is the future spiritual Kingdom he preached about (Matthew 4:17, 23). It will be an everlasting Kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7).
A Need to Change
The destiny of mankind is truly incredible. But in order for us to realise this destiny we must change. That should be our main objective in this life; to change from what we are so we can enter God’s Kingdom and go on living with Him forever. With the renewing of the mind we will be able to participate in what God has planned for the universe without degrading and destroying it. Without causing untold misery and suffering which is a direct consequence of the way we have lived on this Earth. God will not let us take part in these things unless we do change.
With God dwelling in us through the power of His Spirit, physical man can undergo a transformation that makes the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into butterfly pale into insignificance.